Alan Maizey: Mez’ artworks are a nice combination of aesthetics and purposeful elements. One work that was interesting for me was the collection of horizontally scrolling pieces that collectively form a portfolio of her interpretations of the interaction between poetry and design.
Although these works appeal to the participant who has experience within the web coding field, they also appeal to an audience who are drawn in simply by the smooth, relaxing flow of the artworks. It is this multi level sense of interest that Mez has laced successfully into her work that gives the impression that she has the ability as an artist to attract audiences from starkly varying backgrounds.
As a collection of pieces, the portfolio that harbours the many scrolling works represents two contrasting perspectives. On one hand the jumbled letters mean nothing to the untrained eye, perhaps instilling a feeling of being lost in a world of technological confusion that has no visible end or completion. On the other hand, this perspective is enhanced from the viewpoint of a participant who has the ability to decipher the poems that have been entwined throughout the mix-up of letters and symbols. Although still representing a ‘lost in technology’ feel, this second perspective of Mez’ work combines the chaos of technology (which is dependant entirely on algorithms and codes) with the emotion of poetry.
I enjoyed becoming lost in Mez’ artworks, I felt that the entire time I was perusing through the pages that there was always going to be something that I had missed in some way. This feeling of nervous anticipation added to the experience of navigating through, at the end of the day, is a relatively standard website.
Jason Jie: Week 9 – Interactive confusing coding
Wow, that was what I was thinking when reading this. I guess this kind of tries to use psychology and mixing it with technology? In a way, human brains created computer programming. Therefore, it would make sense that the coding we use for coding is a reflection of how we think that the human brain works..? That also might be the reason why it sometimes seems so similar to how we think and act. In certain culture theories, there are claims that culture is also a way of programming. Interactive coding may be seen as a certain coding too. Maybe even know some cultural influences too…
I am not sure how this technology is going to develop itself in the future. Maybe the future of androids and robocops isn’t that far at all…? If we can use interactive coding that can direct computers/humans to walk a certain pattern, then it shouldn’t take that long before we will be in the same dimension movies like ‘Bladerunner’ are portraying… Only time can tell…
Rei Singsam: Hi Peepz,
“Exorcism” MEZ (Mary Anne Breeze)
The artwork reminded me of a movie I saw during my first year of university. The movie is entitled “Existenze” and features themes of biocybernetics. This piece features various body parts and organs displayed on what it seems like a conveyor belt and is displayed to be a type of interface where the user can custom make a human body with their selection of different body parts.
In saying that, it also features a “Matrix” style aesthetic, with a lot of alien type of text placed all around her art. Some of these text titles are links to other artworks, and other titles are in a different language deeming it incomprehensible.
Additionally, Breeze uses themes of ‘hieroglyphic’ type icons. Many of her diagrams featured in this piece, appear as it they were painted on ancient Egyptian walls. The combination of all these elements creates a degree of confusion to what actually she is trying to portray in her artwork and indeed evokes a dark and eerie mood. Very original to say the least.
Chrissy Brown: MEZ – ‘mesangelle’
ur.blather.is.my.concept.meat is the first line I read within MEZ’s site and I can relate to it. Getting around over hearing conversations can really spark creative ideas. This idea of combing code and poetry is really interesting and adds another visual dynamic to text. An attempt to decipher the writings to create meaning is your first approach to MEZ’s work. I believe you engage more in the writings than you normally would with text, as they are ambiguous. This gives the viewer freedom of interpretation and is very beneficial if you are targeting an intelligent market.
Another favorite I found as it brings a smile to my face when reading is:
Woldram_Alpha input = "hi": "Assuming "hi" is a phrase - Input interpretation: Hello. Response: Hello, human." [luv it].
Michael Blank: ...Being able to conceptualise a simple modern day task into another language but being able to make that language a digital one and turn it into art is a stroke of genius. Code and mathematics are very difficult languages to understand fully in all its complexities, but the use of simple commands as directions bring a new life to a simple task.
Already, many of you have begun conceptualising other simple tasks into algorithms that would make life easier. I to have done the same, but I’m going to bring another light onto the piece. Don’t we already do this subliminally? We all already have an algorithm in our heads that tell us to put our left foot in front followed by the right and rinse and repeat to walk until we have found where we want to go. We also have one that tells us where we want to go, and where I should turn to get there.
I love this notion that Mez has brought out the subliminal side of our conscious for all to view and understand in a language that all can interpret. This is Digital Art at its best.
-From the Discussion Forums of New Media Art - The Flash 8 Revival
The reading groups that make up common practice will take place in June and September. You are invited to read, write, tinker with and intervene in the literary and theoretical texts and poetry together with others through the simple-to-use online tools. You can join us in the Reading Room at Arnolfini or online and via Skype (contact: common practice).
common practice references the widespread and increasingly familiar activity of using online tools in everyday to communicate, contact, work, socialise, play, research, be entertained, etc. The practice embodies the curiosity to experience ways in which human and machine skills and abilities perform together.
More importantly, however, common practice also refers to the fact that it is done in common – together with others. Thus it is social space of knowledge materialised through co-labour, codeworking and language.
The first session will open with mez breeze’s mezangelle poems, written in a blend of code and language, and we will be practising a simultaneous reading-writing reworking of these texts to experience their language-code operations during the event.”
- From Making as Meaning: from Dirty Concrete to Critical Code, Lori-Emerson.
Consider her short codework "_trEm[d]o[lls]r_" published on her site and on the Critical Code Studies blog. It is a program that seems to describe (or self-define) the birth pangs of a new world. The work, written in what appears to be XML, cannot function by itself. It appears to assign a value to a variable named "doll_tre[ru]mor[s]", a Mez-ian (Mezozoic?) portmenteau of doll_tremors and rumors. This particular rumor being defined is called, the fifth world, which calls up images of the Native American belief in a the perfected world coming to replace our current fourth world. This belief appears most readily in the Hopi tribe of North America. A child of this fifth world are "fractures," or put another way, the tremor of the coming world brings with it fractures. The first, post 2 inscription, contains polymers: a user set to "YourDollUserName," a "3rdperson" set to "Your3rdPerson," a location set to "YourSoddenSelf", and a "spikey" set to "YourSpiKeySelf." The user then becomes a molecule name within the fracture, a component of the fracture. These references to dolls and 3rd person seem to evoke the world of avatars. In virtual worlds, users have dolls.
If the first fracture is located in the avatar of the person, in their avatar, the second centers on communication from this person or user. Here the user is defined with "YourPolyannaUserName," and we are in the world of overreaching optimism, in the face of a "msg" or message of "YourPleading" and a "lastword." Combining these two fractures we have a sodden and spikey self pleading and uttering a last word presumably before the coming rupture into the fifth world.
As with many codeworks, the presentation layer appears to be the data and logic layer. However, there is clearly another logic layer that makes these words appear on whatever interface the reader is using. Thus, the presentation layer is a deception, a challenge to the very division of layers, a revelation that hides. At the same time, we are compelled to execute the presented code by tracing out its logic. We must take the place of the compiler with the understanding that the coding structures are also meant to launch allusive subroutines, that part of our brain that is constantly listening for echoes and whispers.
To produce that reading, we have had to execute that poem, at least step through it, acting as the processor...Where traditional poetry establishes identity through I's, Mez has us identify with a system ready to process the user who is not ready for the fifth world, whatever that may bring. At the same time, universal or even mythical realities have been systematized or simulated. There is another layer of data that is missing, supplied by the user presumably. The poem leaves its tremors in a state of potential, waiting to operate in the context of a larger system and waiting for a user to supply the names, pleading, and last words..."
From "Electronic Literature as an Information System", Juan B. Gutierrez/CAVIIAR (Advanced Research Center in Artificial Intelligence), Mark C. Marino (University of Southern California), Pablo Gervás (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), and Laura Borràs Castanyer (Universidad Oberta de Catalunya),
"...To grasp the difference between ludic and experimental dysfunctionality, let's compare the Shakespeare program discussed...with the use of graphic elements inspired by computer code in Mezangelle, the hybrid language developed by the Australian author Mez:
($gene (x y)
((not? (promise? y))
(set-(h)eart(h)! (var x) y) ;
(set-earth! (var x) ()) ; delete y)
(quoted from Net Behaviour)The Shakespeare program tries to hide that it is a piece of computer code, by imitating a dramatic script. Here it is the other way around. The poem tries to pass as computer code, by imitating the syntax of a computer language (it most resembles LISP), and by using special graphic elements, but it cannot be executed: there is no compiler for this pseudo language. The purpose here is not to communicate with the machine, but rather, following a tradition that runs from nineteenth century Symbolism to twentieth century Dadaism, Surrealism, Lettrism, and concrete poetry, to produce a new poetic idiom. The use of parentheses is symptomatic of an ambition to fight the linearity of language by rendering symbols semantically polyvalent: for instance, in the Mez example, " (h)eart(h)." can be read as "heart," "earth" or "hearth." Whether of not these language experiments produce dysfunctionality or a functionality of a higher order depends on how much effort readers are willing to devote to their decoding, and on whether this effort is found worthwhile. Similarly, there are people who find the language of Finnegans Wake highly dysfunctional, and others who admire it as a synthesis of different languages that overcomes the disaster of Babel. (Incidentally, Mezangelle has been widely compared to Finnegans Wake.)"
From _Between Play and Politics: Dysfunctionality in Digital Art_, electronic book review
-Renee Turner, Piet Zwart Institute
-Gary Hall in Digitize This Book!
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, 2008